Friday, November 12, 2010

Lessons From Our Own History

Last week we laid to rest my wife's grandmother. A lady who had won the BEM at the age of 22 for, amongst other bravery, dragging her dead, pregnant friend from the burning ruins of the Blitz, and then went on to work with the code breakers before welcoming home her fiancée who spent five years in a Nazi PoW camp under dreadful conditions. She went on to raise a wonderful family and I was privileged to marry her eldest grandchild.

It makes you reflect on how vacuous our world of television and technology seems. I have spent the past few weeks enabling and 'experiment' where some publicity hungry guy who spends all his time on camera being dictated to by a fickle public in LA. The value of this experiment, beyond taking cash from sponsors, is highly questionable in any way, shape or form....

Television is potentially a tremendous force for good, but is also largely made up of drivel, and the advent of cheap camcorders and YouTube has taken the medium to its natural nadir.

But there is a dogmatic aspect of British television that does have great value in my view. This year's Armistice remembrance has seen more tv coverage of the great wars than ever before. This is true reality TV, not some contrived ideas dreamt up in the Groucho Club.

At a time when the Tea Party movement in the US is eerily reminding me of what ordinary but gullible people can be set to, this is a warning from history and television has a major part in ensuring that we are at least conscious of our past, and might even learn lessons from it.

Not that I suspect your average Teapartier watches PBS..... But there again, even that dear old lady herself was liable above all else to a touch of wrestling on TV.

Lord Reith might have been a bit of a monster, but his edicts to educate, inform and entertain still ring so true.